London 2012: Unsung heroes start training at Wembley Arena
London 2012 chairman Seb Coe addresses 10,000 volunteers, part of the 70,000 strong army of Games Makers at Wembley Arena
Pensioners, teenagers, students and high-flying City workers were among the 10,000 London 2012 volunteers who started their training at Wembley Arena on Saturday.
Organisers have made no secret that the success of the Games will depend largely on the 70,000 strong army of volunteers, known as Games Makers, who they are tipping to be the unsung heroes of the Olympics and Paralympics.
Locog chairman Seb Coe wants to recreate the feel-good factor of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, where the volunteers were widely praised for making the event the most friendly and atmospheric Games ever.
The induction session at Wembley Arena is the first six national orientation events and by the time the Games begin more than 1.2 million hours of training will have been given.
Roles range from the glamourous, carrying Usain Bolt’s kit to the startline of the 100m final, to the distinctly unstarry, manning car parks and working in transportation, with absolutely no glimpse of the action.
However, almost a quarter of a million people applied to the Games Maker programme in 2010 and a team of specially trained volunteer interviewers has been carrying out selection interviews since February 2011.
“Today marks a significant milestone in our preparation for the Games. These orientation events are the start of our extensive training programme which will deliver over one million training hours for up to 70,000 people from around the country,” said London 2012 chairman Seb Coe.
“Our Games Makers will contribute a total of around eight million volunteer hours during the Games and simply wouldn’t happen without them. I hope that the orientation training they receive has made them even more excited about being part of the London 2012 team this summer.”